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Facebook allows stolen content to flourish its researchers warned

WSJ [paywall – this link may be free]: “Facebook has allowed plagiarized and recycled content to flourish on its platform despite having policies against it, the tech giant’s researchers warned in internal memos. About 40% of the traffic to Facebook pages at one point in 2018 went to pages that stole or repurposed most of their content, according to a research report that year by Facebook senior data scientist Jeff Allen, one of a dozen internal communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Pages are used by businesses and organizations to disseminate content on Facebook, while individual users put content on what Facebook calls “profiles.” The researchers also wrote Facebook has been slow to crack down on copyright infringement for fear of opening itself to legal liability. “What’s the easiest (lowest effort) way to make a big Facebook Page?” Mr. Allen wrote in an internal slide presentation the following year. “Step 1: Find an existing, engaged community on [Facebook]. Step 2: Scrape/Aggregate content popular in that community. Step 3: Repost most popular content on your Page.” Mr. Allen, who left Facebook in late 2019, wrote that Facebook pages seeking big followings simply had to ask one question of the content they were considering recirculating: “Has it gone viral in the past?” Posting unoriginal content continues to be a formula for success on Facebook, according to data the company has released this year on the platform’s most popular posts. Company researchers said the tactic is an effective way to build a large audience on Facebook and has been used by foreign and domestic groups that post divisive content and peddle false information on social media…”

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